Germany: One day in Munich City

Travel Period : 8th June 2013

Location: Capital of Bavaria State (German: Bayern)

Train Journey to Munich 

We boarded the train at the train station in Burghausen. As we intend to travel on rail transport for the whole day, we bought the Länder-Ticket for the Bayern (Bavaria) region (Bayern-Ticket) at 26 Euro for two adults. This ticket allows us to travel on unlimited local transport in one day within the Bayern region, which includes Munich. Up to 5 person can travel using this ticket (need to indicate when buying the ticket with additional costs). Dar travels for free as he is below 6 years old.

Outside scenery...patches of greenery
Outside scenery…patches of greenery

It was our first time on a train in Germany so we were quite excited. The train moved rapidly and the scenery flashed past. At first, we were still excited about the green field, abundant forests and clear blue sky but after a while, we grew bored and couldn’t wait to alight.

35 minutes later, we reached the transfer station at Muldorf, Oberbay.We alighted and walked quickly to change platforms. The transfer time was quite limited so we had to be fast. We walked down the long platform, down the stairs to a pedestrian walkway and then up the stairs again to another platform to take the Regional Bahn to Munich Central Station. We found it quite interesting walking along the open-air platform. Without a shelter, it would be bad if it rains.

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It took another 1 hour before we reached the Munich Central Station.

Munich Railway Station
Munich Central Station

Munich Central Station (München Hauptbahnhof) is a large terminal station with 32 platforms and contains the S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations which are rapid transit systems. To travel around Munich city, one usually have to rely on the S-Bahn and U-Bahn subway trains.

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At the start of our journey, we were not 100% sure if our Bayern-Ticket would work but having arrived at Munich without hassle, we were confident enough to buy the ticket for the next day to Füssen. Thus we headed to one of the ticket machines to purchase it.

We then made use of our Bayern-Ticket for today to take the S-Bahn (this ticket covers all local transport) to the Marienplaz Station, which is just two stations away. We could take any S-Bahn trains between S1 and S6 to get there.

Marienplaz

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As we stepped out of the train station, we stood in the city square Marienplatz looking up at the city hall Rathaus with awe. The architecture was built in the 19th century in a gothic style and has a famous tourist attraction, the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. There is a column with a golden statue of the Virgin Mary and Marienplatz ( Mary’s square) was named after it.

We read that the clock would chime at 11am (as well as 12pm & 5pm in the summer) and small figures beneath it would move to tell a story. It was near 11am so we decided to wait for the ‘show’. More people gathered when it was nearly 11am and the square was fully packed. We let Dar sit on our small hand luggage to watch the show. People were considerate and did not block his view. The figures were very high up on the clock tower though and we could barely make them out. After 5-10 mins of watching the figures turned in accordance to the musical chime and not fully understanding the ‘story’, we got bored and decided to head off to our goal of getting a toy model train for Dar. (The whole story reenactment is about 12-15 mins long)

The square was full of shops lined on the sides and we walked into a huge department store to check out the toys section on one of the level. There were several interesting toys but no model trains. What was interesting was that they actually had a huge table of Lego bricks for children to do their own creations. Dar wanted to sit there and build but we were rushing for time. They also had toys on display on the shelf for kids or parents to try them out before they buy.

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Walking Around the Town Square

After coming out from the departmental store, we decided to explore the city square and walked around before heading to a toy departmental store we had planned to go in our itinerary. It was an interesting walk filled with sites of European architecture. We enjoyed looking at them because they are so different from what we are used to.

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Earlier on, we found a brochure about the Munich Residence (Residenz Munchen)and decided to take a look at it. However, we got a bit lost and headed into a large courtyard. It was still a nice place though.

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When we finally reached the Residenz, we were put off by the costly entrance fee and gave up entering. Our main itinerary for the day was to visit the Deutsches Museum so we did not have much time to explore other places and could only do a quick tour.

We came to an open area during our walk and saw many people lying around on the grass. Sunny days like this are very rare in Germany so many people were grabbing the opportunity to bask in it. It was an interesting ‘sight’ to us and we were admiring their ‘relaxing’ lifestyle. When we first arrived on the 1st of June, it still felt like spring and was very cold. This day, a week later, the sun finally came out. At that time, it still felt cool although the sun was bright. That was why we were dressed in two layers, looking quite odd among the Westerners who were baring their arms and legs already.

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Karlsplatz – Obletter

We could walk if we want to but we chose to take the subway to Karlspatz because our boy loves train transport. Our goal of coming here is to visit the biggest toy store in Munich City, the Obletter Spielwaren, to get a toy model of the high-speed rail train.

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It was really a huge store filled with a large variety of toys. At the train section, there were lots of different models and some were for collectors, priced in hundreds of Euro! We asked to look a nice model of the ICE with all the carriages, a restaurant and it costs $500! No way we are getting that for Dar!

Luckily, there was a kids version of the train and Dar was happy with that. With remote control and tracks, it costs about 50 Euro. There were also models of houses, trees and surrounding landscape to produce an entire railway model system! We bought a model of a medieval house which needs to be glued together piece by piece.

Satisfied with our purchases, we went to check into our hotel (scroll below for review) and ate our simple lunch of bread sandwiched with hot dogs. We wanted to save time because eating in a restaurant would take too long. After finishing our lunch, we quickly headed to the Deutsches Museum which was within walking distance and spent about 2 hours there. There was a special train exhibition show at 4pm which we could not miss. More details would be blogged about in a separate post.

Dinner

After leaving the museum, we settled our dinner around 5-6pm in a Thai-Vietnamese Asian restaurant. We found it while walking in the underground pedestrian walkway to the Rosenheimer Platz Train Station beside the hotel. We didn’t note the name but we found the food satisfying. We ordered fried fish with rice, tom yam soup, pineapple fried rice and vegetarian spring rolls. The tom yam soup did not have the authentic taste but was rather delicious that we ended up ordering another bowl.

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English Garden

As it was still early, we went to check out the English Garden(Englischer Garten) which is another famous tourist spot in Munich. This time, we took the U-Bahn (U-6 train) which is a very fast rapid transit system with short intervals of a few mins each. As the trains were fast, we could find seats for the three of us easily every time.

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It was around 7pm but as Summer has a longer day, the surroundings felt like late afternoon. By this time, it was much hotter and we felt over-dressed stepping into the gardens where people were enjoying the sun in singlets and Bermudas. It was overwhelming walking in the crowds of people because we stood out so much as Asians. Many were lying down on the grass with food and beer or just sitting by the lake. I felt really awkward walking among them since we were there just to take a look, not to enjoy the sun. Even though it was huge with many walking and cycling trails, we only walked the trail to the Beer Garden before deciding to head back.

Those 'white' blobs in the background are people! lots of them
Those ‘white’ blobs in the background are people! LOTS of them
Nice place to relax if one has time
Nice place to relax if one has time

Vin did not want to try the beer as he would be the only one drinking (I don’t drink) so we just took a picture of the Chinese Pagoda. It happened that he was thirsty and took out the bottle of orange juice we always carry in our backpack. I burst out laughing when I realised that the scene was quite funny as people were sitting on the benches behind him drinking huge cups of beer. (Try German Weiss Beer, it’s good!) We decided to take a picture to record this : ‘Drinking orange juice in a beer garden’.

Trying to be extraordinary...
Trying to be extraordinary…

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Back in the hotel, Dar could not wait to play with his beloved model German High-speed rail train, known as the Inter-City Express Train, ICE train for short. We placed it on the sofa bed for a while.

He had wanted this train ever since he saw the real one on YouTube last year, even before our Taiwan trip. We were telling him then that it was impossible to go Germany just to buy him one! Therefore, when this trip really happened this year, we HAD to go get him one. We were thus happy that we managed to meet our goal today.

// Accommodation

Location : Hotel Novotel München City
Choice due to: Within walking distance to the Deutsches Museum
Nearest Rapid Transit Station: Rosenheimer Platz station
Costs: Double-bed ; 119 Euro/ Night

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This hotel belongs to the Novotel chain of hotels. They are usually located near train stations, costly and quite small.

Indeed, we found the room quite small but very clean with a modern design. Inside the small setting, each space was fully utilised with a clever arrangement. Even the small bathroom was able to accommodate a bathtub and a shower. We were quite impressed.

The toilet was located separately however beside the entrance. Though it allowed two people to use these two facilities separately, it was still quite troublesome because there was no sink in the toilet. One have to go back to the bathroom to wash hands after using the toilet.

We booked the double-room but there was a sofa bed available in the room which was almost as big as a queen bed. When it was time for bed, we opened it out and used the extra blanket provided in the cupboard. The bed was the right size for two of us but not enough for three. Overall, it was still quite comfortable and good for the three of us.

[ Info About Munich ]

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It is the largest city in Bavaria State and the third largest city in Germany. Its German name is München (‘moon-chen’) so saying this to a local would be more understandable. It is a busy city with many people from different nationalities or ethnicity. We found quite a few Asian restaurants and even store selling Asian groceries. Young locals were able to communicate with us in English when we asked.

{Next : Learning in Deutsches Museum}